Balletcore, dunes and vamps at Paris couture week

Balletcore, dunes and vamps at Paris couture week

Margaret Qualley showed off Chanel's 'balletcore'
Margaret Qualley showed off Chanel's 'balletcore'. Photo: EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP
Source: AFP

Haute couture week in Paris showcases the fashion world's most elite outfits -- one-off, made-to-measure creations that the labels hope will adorn red carpets and high society events around the world.

Here are some of the highlights from four days of shows in the French capital.

Balletcore

Ballet is hot right now.

Andie MacDowell's daughter, actress Margaret Qualley, in a neck ruff and white tights, was the catwalk star as Chanel marked 100 years since founder Gabrielle Chanel first dressed the Russian Ballet in Paris.

It came just a few days after Dior paid homage to ballet icon Rudolf Nureyev during the menswear week, and Chanel offered the ultra-chi-chi women's version, with lots of tutu skirts, translucent whites, leotards and dance pumps.

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Eastern journeys

France's Stephane Rolland recreated the atmosphere of a Marrakesh garden, with women dressed like Middle Eastern princesses in beige, gold and blue, set against a background of desert dunes and a soundtrack by trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf.

Stephane Rolland created a desert kingdom in Paris
Stephane Rolland created a desert kingdom in Paris. Photo: Thomas SAMSON / AFP
Source: AFP

Rolland told AFP he was thinking about the collection before the Israel-Hamas war broke out in October and had decided to stick with it in order to promote "tolerance and positivity".

Giorgio Armani plucked ideas from all over the world to take an audience including Gwyneth Paltrow and Glenn Close on an "imagined journey from West to East" that included decorative peacock motifs and kimono-style gowns.

Moths and bugs were the stars for Rahul Mishra
Moths and bugs were the stars for Rahul Mishra. Photo: Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP
Source: AFP

Rahul Mishra, meanwhile, has been dazzling couture audiences with lustrous and idiosyncratic visions of his native India for several years.

This time, he was inspired by insects, with huge glittering moths and bees adorning some outfits, and several turbans and maharajah outfits in the collection.

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Theatrical Fournie

One of the most spectacular shows came from Julien Fournie, who sought to recreate the atmosphere of fashion's heyday, packing out a Paris theatre for a tribute to vamps and femmes fatales.

Julien Fournie put on a vampish theatrical show
Julien Fournie put on a vampish theatrical show. Photo: Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP
Source: AFP

Cocked bowler hats and beige trench coats recalled film noir classics and cabaret, alongside dizzying stiletto heels that tested the balance of the models as they put on much more of a show than the usual up-and-back catwalk strut.

Model Michaela Tomanova, seven months pregnant, stood out in a black gala dress made from a harness, while Fournie paid tribute to landmark styles over the past century, from suits to pencil skirts and big shoulders, all with modern twists.

"With this collection I wanted to return the joy, fantasy and lightness that we miss so much today," said Fournie, who joined the models on stage for an ecstatic finale in their arms.

Dior couture

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Christian Dior's show created an other-worldly atmosphere.

It was set in the Rodin Museum among the imagery of artist Isabella Ducrot and the soundtrack to current hit film "Poor Things", and had celebs including Rihanna and Juliette Binoche in the front row.

Grecian goddess looks featured in the varied Dior collection
Grecian goddess looks featured in the varied Dior collection. Photo: Miguel MEDINA / AFP
Source: AFP

The collection paid tribute to a classic from the Dior archive, the La Cigale dress of 1952 and the unique rippling effect of its moire fabric, although it was a varied show that included everything from brown trenchcoats to white Grecian-goddess-style dresses and velvet pantsuits.

Source: AFP

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